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Budapest, Romania and the Castles of Transylvania

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Unspoilt and unique, Romania has so much to offer.

13 days From £2,395 £2,245 per person
Booking Offer

Save £150pp on your Europe 2023 holiday when you book between 16th November 2022 and midnight 12th December 2022, for departure dates between 1st April 2023 and 31st October 2023.

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2023 Tour code: ROG23

About the tour

Unspoilt and unique, Romania has so much to offer. We'll immerse ourselves in Transylvanian tradition on a private tour of Bran Castle, as well as making visits to three of the country's painted monasteries and a rescue bear sanctuary. This holiday is perfectly bookmarked with time in cosmopolitan Budapest and Bucharest.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 – The UK to Budapest

From London Heathrow we fly to Budapest where we check into our hotel for the night. After dinner, we see the city on an illuminated night-time coach tour. The flatter, lively area of Pest looks across the water to its older neighbour, the hilly Buda. Rising up away from the banks of the river, Budapest was once the joint capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Tracing the Danube south, we enjoy views of the city after dark, including the famous Szechenyi Chain Bridge and spectacular Gellert Hill.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 – Budapest to Brașov

After a free morning, a guided coach tour introduces us to Budapest's other main sights by day. We pass impressive buildings and monuments on both sides of the Danube, including the Neo-Gothic Parliament building, designed on the Palace of Westminster, Budapest Castle, Matthias Church and the Fisherman's Bastion. Next, we enjoy dinner at a charming bistro, before our overnight rail journey to Brașov, in Romania.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 – Brașov

Arriving in Brașov for two nights, we transfer to our hotel, enjoying cake and coffee before visiting the șchei district with a local guide. Brasov is a fusion of architectural styles, including Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque. Nestled in the forested foothills around the city, this historic Romanian quarter is accessed through the 19th century șchei Gate, an area of traditional red-roofed houses and cobbled alleyways. We visit the famous medieval Black Church, whose construction began in 1383 but was only completed centuries later, due to violent attacks and the threat of war. After a devastating fire destroyed the town - and much of the church - in 1689, it was known as the 'Black Church'.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 4 – Bear Sanctuary and Bran Castle

Our first visit of the day is to a Romanian bear sanctuary, where we take a private tour to meet and learn about the gentle brown bears who now live here peacefully after being rescued. Back in Braşov, you have free time before we transfer to Bran Castle - an atmospheric perched fortress with Gothic turrets, and an uncanny likeness to the description of Dracula's Transylvanian home in Bram Stoker's novel. On our private guided tour we learn about the castle's history, dating back to the Teutonic Knights of the 12th century, and some of its famous residents such as Vlad the Impaler. We enjoy dinner at the castle's restaurant which serves up a great choice of Romanian dishes.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 – The Red Lake and Suceava

Our day begins with a scenic drive to Red Lake, in the Carpathian Mountains. The dramatic scenery of dense woodland, crystal clear water and soaring mountains is a paradise for local wildlife, and we may glimpse a Carpathian stag, mountain eagle or wild boar. Continuing to nearby Bicaz Gorge, an incredible limestone canyon in the heart of a national park, we take a scenic drive right through the crevice, enjoying time to admire the exceptional views. We then make our way to Suceava, checking into our hotel on arrival for a three-night stay.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – The Huțulca Railway

Our day includes a quaint round-trip journey along the Huțulca Railway in restored 19th century carriages. Travelling by steam train through rural Bucovina, we admire passing scenery of remote villages, rolling hills and fir tree forests ahead of our afternoon excursion to the Moldovița Monastery. One of Romania's famous painted monasteries, it was built in the 16th century and is decorated with vibrant frescoes depicting stories from the bible. Considered to be Byzantine masterpieces, the dominant colours are deep blue and gold, and - as well as being a UNESCO protected site - the chapel is still attended by Romanian Orthodox nuns.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 7 – Marginea and Romania’s painted monasteries

We admire the black pottery of Marginea, stopping at a ceramics centre to hear more about the age-old technique used to create striking pieces of jet black pottery. Created in the time-honoured way, using pre-historic technology passed down from father to son, each handmade piece takes almost three weeks to make and is totally unique. Our next visit takes us to two more painted monasteries - Sucavița and Voroneț. Also known as the 'Ladder of Virtues', Sucavița's frescoes look almost as fresh now as the day they were painted, over 400 years ago, while Voroneț boasts an incredibly detailed illustration of 'The Last Supper'.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Sighisoara

We drive to Sighișoara today, in the Romanian region of Transylvania, our base for the next three nights. Along the way, we make plenty of stops to admire the views and stock up on refreshments.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Sibiu

Transferring to the ancient city of Sibiu, perched in the shadows of the Cindrel Mountains, we enjoy a guided tour that delves into the fascinating history of this destination. Exploring the Old Town, we wander past more traditional German buildings, surrounded by the remains of the city's medieval walls and 13th century towers. We also see bustling Huet Square and the Bridge of Lies - said to collapse if someone tells a lie while walking across it - and the Evangelical Square.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 – The fortified church of Biertan and Sighișoara

We continue our historic explorations with a visit to the fortified church of Biertan, a UNESCO World Heritage site which looks more like a castle from the pages of a storybook. One of the largest medieval strongholds in the country, it sits on a hill overlooking the village of Biertan. Tucked away in its grounds is an unusual feature: a small room known as the marital prison. Here, couples seeking a divorce from the bishop would be told to spend six weeks together, before being allowed to separate. Back in Sighișoara, we set out on a tour of the medieval citadel.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 – Peleș Castle

We start our journey to Bucharest, where we stay for two nights, stopping enroute at the Neo-Renaissance Royal Peleș Castle in Sinaia. Regarded as one of the most eclectic and stunning castles in Europe, each room boasts a different theme. We visit the extravagant music room, adorned with carved teak wood, the embroidered silks of the exotic Turkish salon and the elaborate frescoes of the Theatre Hall, painted by Gustav Klimt and Frantz Matsch.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 – Bucharest

Today we take a fascinating tour of the Romanian capital - a melting pot of history, culture, fine architecture and art. We experience several centuries in just a few hours, discovering Bucharest's ancient centre, where we learn about the princely court of Vlad Ţepeș, visit Manuc's Inn and take a walk along Lipscani Street. Next, we uncover Bucharest's communist links, stopping at Revolution Square and the Unirii Fountains. With some free time afterwards, you may like to experience some contemporary shopping or stop at one of the superb bars or cafés. We end our holiday in style this evening, with an authentic Romanian dinner served at one of Bucharest's oldest restaurants.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13 – London

Transferring to the airport, we board our flight to London Heathrow.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Kronwell Hotel, Brașov

Kronwell Hotel, Brașov

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Grand Hotel Bucharest, Bucharest

Grand Hotel Bucharest, Bucharest

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Continental Hotel, Budapest

Continental Hotel, Budapest

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Central Park Hotel, Sighisoara

Central Park Hotel, Sighisoara

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Sonnehof Hotel, Suceava

Sonnehof Hotel, Suceava

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Train

Huțulca Railway

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Budapest, Romania and the Castles of Transylvania

Unspoilt and unique, Romania has so much to offer.

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Jo Jones
Jo
Lynne Broadley
Lynne